MNO representatives and friends at the launch of the Métis Baby Bundle Book during the IKN final
dissemination meeting. (Left to right) MNO Senator Reta Gordon, Dr. Janet Smylie, MNO staff
members October Fostey and Jo MacQuarrie and Carleton University Adjunct Research Professor
From October 17-18, the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) attended the final dissemination meeting of the Indigenous Knowledge Network for Infant, Child and Family Health (IKN) national project at the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health in Ottawa.
The MNO is one of five community partners involved in the project. The goal of the IKN project is to enhance Métis and First Nations infant, child and family health in Ontario and Saskatchewan by developing an Indigenous knowledge network to gather, synthesize and apply locally relevant Indigenous and public health knowledge to culture-based parenting and infant/toddler health promotion programs.
The final meeting provided an overview of the project methods, deliverables and outcomes. All five partners presented a unique frontline oral history and knowledge sharing project processes and findings.
The MNO presented the newly created Métis Baby Bundle Book as its knowledge application project. An initiative lead by MNO staff members Amanda Cox and October Fostey, the Métis Baby Bundle Book puts traditional knowledge in a form that will always be remembered and can be passed down through generations. The book was presented at the meeting by Fostey and Jo MacQuarrie. MNO Senator Reta Gordon was also in attendance.
During the presentation, Fostey described the process in creating the Baby Bundle Book. Fostey and Cox dedicated a day per week for the past five years to conduct interviews with Métis Elders in their communities in order to compile traditional knowledge and stories.
“How we were going to use the stories and the knowledge from the elders was unclear in the beginning but as I thought about how I wanted to use the stories to pass on it came to me so very clearly, a baby book” explained Cox in a note as she was unfortunately unable to attend the final meeting.
“This would not have been possible without the help of the Métis elders who shared their stories with us,” said Fostey. “I cannot thank them enough.”
The Baby Bundle Book includes stories and inspiring quotes collected from Métis Elders on the topics of family, parenting and first baby experiences with plenty of room to record personal stories and pictures.
Five years in the making, the IKN project is led by Research Scientist for the Centre of Research on Inner City Health at St. Michael’s Hospital Dr. Janet Smylie who is of Métis descent.
“It has been an honour and privilege to act as the principal investigator for this five year, Canadian Institute’s for Health Research funded project,” said Dr. Smylie.
In addition to the Baby Bundle Book, Fostey and Cox had to submit digital stories explaining their involvement with the network. These videos were also presented during the meeting.